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CD REVIEW -- Peter Karp & Sue Foley

Peter Karp & Sue Foley

Beyond the Crossroads

Blind Pig

Karp & Foley Crossroads CD

by Larry Schara

Does the new release Beyond the Crossroads by Peter Karp and Sue Foley on Blind Pig Records qualify as a blues CD?  The answer is a definite maybe.

As a follow up to their much acclaimed He Said, She Said CD, this new disc has all the required elements: musically, instrumentally, stylistically, lyrically and on and on.  Fans of resonator and slide guitar will surely appreciate Karp’s skillful bluesy touch.  He and Foley manage to beautifully weave touches of folk, country, rock and pop, along with blues, into their rootsy songwriting.

But the main problem with calling this a blues disc is that this CD is a celebration! It is an outright celebration of life, love and music. The two of them are obviously having way too much fun and it comes across in this incredible recorded performance. Perhaps that is why they titled it “Beyond the Crossroads”. They beat the blues and now can kick up their heels, rejoice and share that feeling with the listener, too. Problems will never go away completely -- but you can make it if you try -- seems to be the overriding theme here. And a little love can always help you get there.

Reminiscent of something that could easily have been recorded by Delbert McClinton and/or Bonnie Raitt, the writing on this CD is absolutely spectacular, along with the impeccable production and performances. That said, given enough airplay and exposure, this CD could easily launch these two up to national status on par with McClinton and Raitt. Not to give too much emphasis in comparison, but more for reference, Karp and Foley have crossed that elusive threshold with this CD putting them on a completely new level in the music world.

Of course, Peter Karp and Sue Foley are not newcomers. Karp established himself on the national scene with his critically acclaimed Shadows and Cracks, also on Blind Pig Records. His writing has been compared to that of John Prine and John Hiatt and is impressively backed up by his ability as a musician.  Canadian Sue Foley began her professional career at the age of 16 and by the time she was 21 she was living in Austin, Texas while recording for the legendary blues label, Antone’s Records. She also was awarded Canada’s impressive Juno award for her CD Love Coming Down.

What began as simple email and written correspondence by two lonely, home sick musicians on the road has evolved into this fabulous collection of songs and performances we have here. The chemistry and relationship that has evolved between these two artists is a rarity in the music business and a pure delight to witness.

For example, the CD opens with “We’re Gonna Make It” -- a fine piece co-written by the two of them, obviously for the times we live in:

“Baby it’s true time are tough/ We’re deep in debt and there ain’t enough/ A good job is so hard to find/ It seems we’re standing at the end of the line”

This is blues material its finest, but then the song goes on to proclaim that no matter what happens they’re gonna make it! And somehow you just know they will. The energy and vibe has you agreeing with them from the opening lines of the chorus to the very end of the CD.

And it just goes on from there, with12 tracks of pure musical enjoyment. “Beyond the Crossroads”, the title track, does just that. Even though the lyrics are dark, the song has such an energy and positive emotion that it does not come across that way at all. It really does take you beyond the crossroads.

There is not a single bad track or filler song anywhere on this CD. Personally “Analyze’N Blues”, and “Chance of Rain” stand out today as favorites but I have to say that keeps changing on a day-to-day basis. There is more than enough music here and the CD seems to go by way too quickly.

This delightful recording easily gets my vote thus far for CD of the year. I strongly recommend everybody go out and get a copy. While listening to these songs they may not have you reaching for the bottle, but they most likely will have you rolling up the rugs, moving the furniture out of the way and dancing on into the night with a smile on your face.

Larry Schara is a 40 year veteran of the music industry as a musician, engineer, producer with 9 Grammy nominated credits, a couple of gold records and a fond remembrance of working with Ray Charles, B.B. King and Chuck Berry among others.

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